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How To Stop Your Dog Pulling

He Just Drags Me From One Lamp Post To The Next!
Its 7am and I am out walking Erick, who even at this early hour as I am yawning my head off he is alert and following his nose, dragging me along with him. Yep with Erick my 38kg Old English Sheepdog loves nothing more then putting his nose to the ground and lunging from one smell to the next, I am sighing loudly as he drags me along.
You see Erick loves to sniff and while this happens he is deaf and blind to the rest of the world including me.

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So How Do I Stop Him Pulling?
First of all don’t think about the problem as ‘how do I stop my dog pulling’ think about it as ‘how do I get my dog to walk with me?’ By thinking this way it changes how we think about the problem its stops being a negative challenge and becomes a game!!
By thinking of training as a game it becomes fun for Erick and me too, if neither of us is having fun then training will just be an up hill battle…. Really who wants that!?!?
I want Erick to walk next to me when he is on the lead, So I am going to teach him that a tight lead gets him no where, while a slack lead gets him praise, treats and most importantly it will take him to the spot he wants to be. Nothing happens over night so I set aside time each day to ‘play’ our training game in time everything will fall in to place.
Let The Games Begin.
Whenever I start training a new game with my dogs I start out in my living room, because its quiet, lacking in distractions and in Erick’s case there isn’t any new smells for him to stick his nose in. So we learn in the living room and once he has nailed the game we practice in a quiet street or park.
The key here is it has minimal distractions (of course I let Erick have a good sniff around before we start any training), I take the game back to the beginning as though he is learning a brand new game and from Erick’s point of view it is a brand new game.
Why does Erick think its a new game? he has already mastered it in the living room hasn’t he? To Erick hes has learnt the new game in the room with the sofas and TV, so for him the game is played in the living room.
By taking him to a new location the game has be taught from the beginning because without the sofas and TV he doesn’t immediately understand what we’re doing. The good news is Erick will pick up the game quicker then in the living room because he is more familiar with what I want and he soon gets it!
We keep practicing in similar quiet locations so Erick becomes use to training around the minimal distractions. If at any point Erick isn’t getting it or getting bored we take a break and go for a walk.

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The Key To Success
Once he is playing the game in low distraction areas then its time to start trying higher distraction areas. I Keep the practices sort and sweet and building up the time, I also keep changing the areas from low distractions to high distractions. The more I can play the game in different areas the quicker Erick will understand what I am asking him to do.
Soon Erick has learned that I want him to walk by my side on a loose lead and he does… happy days. Now just because he walking beside me doesn’t mean that we stop playing our training game, by still practicing the game I am ensuring that Erick doesn’t forget what I have taught him.
Its oh so easy to assume once we’ve taught our dogs to do something on cue that they will know it for life, they don’t we have to keep refreshing their memories! So matter what you teach your dog always practice it!!
You Can Play My Game Too.
I have written a 5 email series explaining exactly how have taught my dogs to walk on loose lead by my side. In a step by step guide you will soon have your dog walking by your side too. Simply click here to sign up!
Take Care and Let me know how you get on.Suzanne

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